Origin PC EON 17-S Gaming Laptop Review
When you think of a gaming PC, you pretty much think of a desktop. A big, powerful desktop festooned with multiple video cards, huge monitors, and high-end components. You don’t normally think of a laptop. Well, at least not until you try out this laptop.
The EON 17-S laptop from Origin PC arrived on my doorstep in an old-school wooden crate. After admiring the packing for a few minutes, I tore into it to find a simple, sleek laptop. Could this thing really be as powerful as they said? Where are all the bells and whistles, all the flashing lights?
As it turns out, they’re all under the hood of this amazingly powerful machine. First off, let’s talk specs.
- CPU: Intel Core i7 3820QM Quad-Core 2.70 GHz w/ 8MB Cache
- RAM: 8GB Corsair Vengeance DDR3 1866MHz
- HDD1: 40GB Intel 310 Solid State
- HDD2: 128GB Samsung 830 Solid State
- HDD3: 1TB SATA 3.0 Gb/s, 8MB Cache
- Optical: 6X Blu-Ray Reader/8X DVD+/-R/2.4X Super-Multi Drive
- Video Card: 4GB GDDR5 NVIDIA GeForce GTX 680M
- WLAN: Killer Wireless-N 1103 Gaming Network Card
- OS: Windows 7 Home Premium 64-Bit
Origin packed this baby with one of the very first GeForce 680Ms to hit market, and that’s a great sign. Overall, that’s a pretty impressive list of hardware, but the big question is this: How does it all run, and more importantly, how does it game?
As you’d expect with the SSDs inside, the laptop boots extremely fast, and securing it is simple with the built-in fingerprint scanner. The built in touchpad is actually very responsive, much more so than what I have grown used to on other laptops I’ve used. The 17.3” screen looks great at 1920×1080, and the whole package is actually a bit lighter than you’d imagine, clocking in around 8 pounds. I still wouldn’t want to be packing it around the show floor at E3 or anything, though.
Origin PC packed one more new piece of technology into this laptop: LucidLogic’s brand new VirtuMVP Mobile Edition Software. This software leverages both the discrete video card in your laptop and the on-chip video from Intel’s Ivy Bridge processors to markedly improve your performance. It does this through two utilities: Virtual-VSync and Hyperformance.
Virtual V-Sync allows you to get all the benefits of V-Sync without locking your frame rate to your refresh rate. In every game I tested, I was able to eliminate screen tearing without sacrificing my frame rate. It also means that the input lag that you’d normally associate with V-Sync is gone. Obviously, the screen is still only displaying 60 frames per second, but it feels like more than that, and that feel makes all the difference.
Hyperformance, the other side of the VirtuMVP coin, manages rendering requests to increase your frame rate, and it works. Depending on the game, I saw an increase in frames per second anywhere from 10% to 40%. Obviously, frame rates vary wildly during game play, but these were increases in average frame rates, and that’s significant.
Unfortunately, all the good that the software does is somewhat undermined by the interface. Not only do you have to turn the options for Hyperformance and Virtual V-Sync on, but you have to actually hunt up the game you’re playing on the list of supported titles and make sure things are turned on there as well. It’s not difficult, but it is annoying. I actually couldn’t figure out why the software wasn’t making any difference in the frame rates I was getting until I realized the software wasn’t working on the game I was playing. Still, once you get it working it provides a nice boost to the performance of your games.
Even without the VirtuMVP software boosting its performance, the EON 17-S is a beastly gaming machine. In a world of shrinking machines and ever-smaller components, this 17.3 inch machine is a true desktop replacement. The GTX680M made short work of basically everything I threw at it. Battlefield 3 on Ultra? 45 FPS. Add in the Hyperformance software, and the average FPS hovered in the high 50’s. Starcraft 2 ran at over 80 FPS, and cracked 100FPS when I turned on VirtuMVP. The only game to give it pause was Metro 2033 (averaged 25FPS), and even that ran in the high 30’s to low 40’s with the boost turned on.
I wasn’t surprised at the performance the EON 17-S offered. After all, custom-built PCs and laptops from a reputable company like Origin are almost invariably awesome gaming machines. I was, however, surprised by the cooling that has obviously been worked into this laptop. Even during long Battlefield 3 sessions, the machine never got all that hot. Sure, it was warm, but the leg-blistering, don’t-need-to-go-outside-to-get-a-tan heat was never an issue. That’s a major factor in how much I like a laptop, and the 17-S passed with flying colors.
Obviously, with all this power under the hood, one big concern is battery life. Under load, the 17-S performs about as you’d expect, offering up around 75 minutes of gaming before the power runs out. However, the non-gaming battery life is somewhat better, allowing you watch a full 2 hour movie before you need to plug it in. Just browsing the web? You can stretch nearly another hour out of the battery.
I know that we talk a lot about performance, and that’s important, but I’m also interested in what a laptop looks like. I’m not looking for something that offers up flashing lights and a plethora of colors. I’m more into subdued lines and simplicity, which means the EON 17-S is perfect for me. A backlit keyboard and matte-black finish inside are paired with a shiny silver outside, making it just noticeable enough without delving into the realm of the ostentatious. Origin offers multiple finishes, and will even laser-etch your laptop for a=n additional fee, just in case you’re a bit more flashy than me. The keyboard is also a nice touch, as it has a much more solid feel than I’ve come to expect from laptops.
One other thing that the EON 17-S surprised me with: Sound quality. This laptop incorporates 2 Onkyo speakers and a 3 watt subwoofer. While that doesn’t sound like much, I can tell you that the volume and quality of the sound caught me completely off guard. It was so good that I spent most of my gaming time on it using the speakers rather than the headset I normally favor.
Lastly, if something ever does go wrong with the 17-S, you don’t have to get worried about it. Origin packs in free, lifetime 24/7 tech support based right here in the US. I didn’t encounter any issues that would require their assistance, but it’s nice to know that it’s there if you need it.
Overall, the EON 17-S is one of the best gaming laptops I’ve had the good fortune to test out. In fact, it could hold its own with many gaming desktops, and that’s not something I thought I’d ever be saying. Not only is it great for gaming, you can use it for all of your normal PC tasks (I tracked a fantasy football draft on it!) without a worry. While its price may be a deterrent, (it clocks in at $2,999) if you’re in the market for a high-performance, desktop-quality gaming laptop, you’ll be hard pressed to find one that performs better than the EON 17-S. As a bonus, I can guarantee it’ll show up in the aforementioned wooden crate. How many deliveries do you get like that?
Game Front rates the Origin EON 17-S at 9.5/10.